School of the Arts

Video conference links composer with Singapore students

by Naomi Keeler

Assitant Professor Jorge MuñizAssitant Professor Jorge Muñiz

Technology and music harmonized when Assistant Professor of Music Jorge Muñiz premiered his new work for flute and harp, La Nueche de San Juan, and presented a new CD to students at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music in Singapore via videoconference from IU South Bend’s Schurz Library. “Singapore Symphony Orchestra harpist Katryna Tan and assistant principal piccolo player Roberto Alvarez performed La Nueche de San Juan. The concert accompanied a masterclass that discussed Muñiz’s journey as a composer and how different traditions have shaped his language, focusing on his Austrian roots and how they influence his individual voice as a composer.

Instructional Media Services staff provided a clear videoconference connection that was as close to a real meeting as possible, “Students could see me in a large screen, so I could also be very expressive with my hands and gestures, almost like I was there” says Muñiz.  To prepare students for the videoconference, Muñiz sent his music scores in advance which helped to avoid slight delay between the sites. Feedback from students and moderator in Singapore was immediate which allowed Muñiz to respond without delay. Students reacted positively and Muñiz enjoyed answering their questions about his music scores.

Muñiz has been using technology to benefit the music department since earlier this year. In spring of this year, Muñiz invited a composer from Spain to present to IU South Bend composition students via Skype videoconference which worked very well.  “Using IU South Bend's videoconferencing system is a great step up from this (Skype), given the quality of sound and video (High Definition). I would like to have more opportunities in the future for our students using this technology.” Hoping to establish this as a regular activity for IU South Bend music students, Muñiz is already planning for more videoconferences, “I am in discussions already with the conservatory we are partnered with in Spain.”